Friday quick hits

What a treasure the Berkshires are; Massachusetts’ slice of heaven, as far as I’m concerned. I’m at Fuel Coffee Shop in Great Barrington, which has a very fast wireless connection. Good on them.

Here’s some catching up …

  • Jay tut-tuts Congress over the supposed partisanship displayed in its Iraq all-nighter.

    Jay, what the hell are they supposed to do? You have a President who doesn’t listen to his generals, fires them if they’re anything other than yes men, ignores the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations, and continues to lead us off a cliff with more than 40 GOP Senators right behind him.

    “Can we now discuss a serious non-partisan proposal on how to proceed in Iraq?” No. The GOP won’t have it, never have. Next question.

    To anyone who complains about the tactics — what exactly do you recommend the Democrats do, if not to expose and hammer away as hard as possible at the Republican filibuster? “None of the above” is not an acceptable answer. Out with it.

    We are a democracy. Democracy means politics, and even “political theater”. That is good, and right, and healthy. That’s how we have a real conversation about what to do. Get used to it. Cherish it, even. The alternatives are pretty lousy.

  • On the other hand, viva bipartisanship: Will the Senate stare down the Bush administration’s misanthropy and give health care to millions of kids? Make it so!

    Thanks to our MA Senators, and the good GOP folks who are willing to buck the president and do the right thing.

  • Ted Sorensen served with Jack Kennedy. He knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was his friend. Senator Obama — you may be Jack Kennedy.

    (Thanks David.)

  • Unbelievable story: Bad-ass Globe columnist Steve Bailey exposes how easy it is to buy guns in NH (and potentially take them back to MA); gun nuts go crazy; the ATF harasses Bailey.

    What freakin’ country is this? (Thanks Jay.)

  • I find myself asking: How much of the new stem cell bill is an investment that directly benefits the MA taxpayer, and how much is corporate welfare? If companies use the stem cell lines from the bank in Worcester to make breakthrough treatments, does the state get a direct cut — i.e. from licensing, not just taxation of the revenues?

    As so often is the case, I find Mike Widmer’s reaction amusing: “The sum is manageable, but will require difficult choices,” he said. “This kind of investment could potentially have a powerful payback.” Ah, so <emthis kind of public investment — straight into private companies — is A-OK, huh? We’ll remember that as we try to overhaul education financing, for instance.

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8 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Kennedy/Obama

    Ted Sorensen served with Jack Kennedy. He knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was his friend. Senator Obama -- you may be Jack Kennedy.

    This is a well-written article by Sorensen, but I think he takes the comparison a bit too far, as I think Obama will need to answer questions that get at the differences between Kennedy and himself.

    Obviously Obama is and will continue to face the "lack of experience" charge, which is more serious than Kennedy's, since when JFK ran, he already had 6 years in the House and was in his 2nd Senate term when elected (the Sorensen article confusingly states that JFK was also a first-term Senator, but that was at the very beginning of the '08 nomination race, not after the mid-term election, like where we are now).

    Obama has certainly proven that he can raise money, but he also must demonstrate that he can build a strong organization that will actually turn out votes. JFK may have been the "hope" candidate, but he also had a great ground game (and lots of money, like Obama does), which was probably a big reason he knocked out Hubert Humphrey, who really was pretty ill prepared on the ground.

    Finally, JFK had the advantage of having a weaker primary opponent(s) than Obama, since LBJ was pidgonholed as the Southern-only candidate, Stevenson already ran (and lost) twice for the Dems, and Humphrey was not only the "liberal" (def. too liberal outside the Northeast base) candidate, but didn't have great fundraising or political organization skills. Hillary is clearly a stronger challenger for Obama to overcome.

    It will be interesting to see how Obama's strategy develops to tackle these issues.

  2. Bailey

    Unbelievable story: Bad-ass Globe columnist Steve Bailey exposes how easy it is to buy guns in NH (and potentially take them back to MA); gun nuts go crazy; the ATF harasses Bailey.

    The ATF isn't "harassing" Bailey, they are investigating a straw purchase. Whether it was part of an investigation for an article or not, a straw purchase is a felony and should be dealt with as such.

    And for the record, it is no easier to buy a gun in NH than it is in most states. You still have to meet residency requirements and pass a Federal background check. When I had a pistol permit in MA, I could buy a firearm just as quickly and easily as I now do in NH.

  3. Out here

    Charley, what the heck are you doing out here in the lovely Berkshires?

    And more to the point, wanna get a beverage of some kind while yer out here?


  4. The best breakfast in Great Barrington

    is at Mikes [check it out] and in Arlington, it is Classic Care.  Great Barrington is a lovely place to be on a Friday in July...


  5. I like the quick hits. The Senate debate was

    an excellent process--especially since it weeded out who's who regarding the occupation ---even if it couldn't force an end. 

    I am really getting tired of firearms fundamentalists.  It is like arbitrarily the 2nd Ammendment is the only ammendment that should be broadly honored.  I think that over the past couple decades that the population has been intimidated by gun-rights fundamentalists.

    You could combine the complaint about the Senate with the Steve Bailey story, but I doubt the Senate democrats are going to go to New Hampshire to foster armed rebellion.  Short of that debate the best thing we can do.

    I dont know what I think of who gets what part of stem cell money but I hope it is a step toward producing substantial jobs in the Commonweatlh--as well as good research.  I cant comment much on that one.

    I went to an Obama rally in Manchester NH.  I think he has "it" -- that special personal quality to inspire.

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